An Odaiba view we’ll never be able to see again.
It’s not unusual to feel a little melancholy at this time of year, when summer is winding down and we’re about to head into the shorter, colder days of autumn. Today, though, we’re in an especially bittersweet mood, because Tokyo’s biggest Ferris wheel is about to close down for food, marking the end of an era for the Odaiba district.
The Palette Town entertainment complex opened in 1999, when Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, was Tokyo’s newest trendy spot for dining, shopping, and musical events. The complex’s Giant Sky Wheel (also known as the Daikanransha) quickly became a symbol of the neighborhood, with its 115-meter (377-foot) height making it the tallest Ferris wheel in the world at the time.

Unfortunately, Odaiba has been through some ups and downs in the years since. Sure, its status as a newly created landmass means it actually has empty space, which can be hard to find in Tokyo, and its coastline offers beautiful views of the city skyline across the bay. On the other hand, it’s also a bit out of the way from the city center, with rail access only on the Yurikamome and Rinkai lines, neither of which is particularly convenient for most Tokyoites or travelers. Last summer saw the closing of Odaiba Oedo Onsen Monogatari hot spring facility, followed by the shutdown of Toyota’s Megaweb showroom and classic car museum, both part of Palette Town, within the past nine months. The Venus Fort shopping center, also part of Palette Town, closed its doors for good in March.
The Giant Sky Wheel is still holding on…but not for much longer. The Ferris wheel’s last day of operation is scheduled for August 31, and so we stopped by for one last ride.

The closest station is Tokyo Teleport, on the Rinkai Line, but there’s some extra walking to be done these days. The Giant Sky Wheel is tucked along the side of the Megaweb building, which sits between the station and the Ferris wheel. Because demolition work has already started for Megaweb, though, you can’t cut through the building anymore, so you’ll need to walk around its northeast corner to get the Giant Sky Wheel.
▼ Tokyo Teleport Station (pink), Megaweb (yellow), and Giant Sky Wheel (red)

Thankfully, there are signs up pointing the way to the new route to the Ferris wheel, and after a few minutes of walking, you’ll come to the corridor that leads to the ticket booth.

Tickets cost 1,000 yen (US$7.40) for adults, 500 yen for children in elementary …

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